Think emails are worthless junk? Think again! A judge in California has ordered Yahoo! to face a nationwide class-action lawsuit, after accusing them of illegally intercepting the content of people’s emails that were sent to Yahoo email-havers from non-Yahoo accounts.
What were they doing with this information? You guessed it! It was all to hoover up information to be used to make money with advertising!
US District Judge Lucy Koh has ruled that anyone who sent emails to, or received emails from someone with Yahoo email since 2 October 2011 can sue as a group under the federal Stored Communications Act for alleged privacy violations. That’s going to be a terrifying amount of money, if the suit is successful.
Apparently, non-Yahoo Mail accounts were analysed by Yahoo!, who copied and snooped around in correspondence, including attachments and keywords and the class-action wants to see an injunction barring the alleged interceptions, plus damages.
What’s the excuses and reasoning from Yahoo! execs? Well, they reckon that, because some of the plaintiffs emailed Yahoo accounts despite concerns over the ways their information was processed, that pretty much amounts to consent. And, as well as that, we should feel sorry for Yahoo! because, it this goes through, the suit could set email services back by a decade.
The judge rejected both arguments. We’ll keep up with this and see who is allowed to claim for damages.
Remember us telling you that you might have to whip out your ID to watch dirty videos online? Well, there’s more talk about this, with a new system for UK residents being proposed by the adult entertainment industry.
Soon enough, bongo sites could be required to verify the identity of visitors, which they’d do by checking who you are via ‘trusted’ organisations like banks, credit rating agencies and your mobile operator. Even the NHS might have to get involved.
This sounds exactly like the kind of thing that will never, ever, ever happen in a billion years, but, we report on it anyway because the Tories are gagging to find out who is watching smut on the internet. There’s clearly a lot of money to be made from such a thing, or they wouldn’t be bothered by it.
Of course, this isn’t aimed at adults (honest), but rather, protecting children from looking at a host of genitalia and poor acting skills. It is thought that, by introducing some online hurdles, it’ll stop innocent eyes from looking at people knocking their uglies together. Everyone who has used the internet for 10 minutes will know that, where there’s online hurdles, clever children who are internet-savvy will easily be able to bypass them.
The Digital Policy Alliance, which is made up of people in the industry, policy makers, charities and academics, is trying to pre-empt the law and any measures could be used for more than just porno-sites – we’re talking about anything selling tobacco, booze and other age-restricted things.
The alliance suggests “information already on file across central and local government (including DWP and the NHS) and/or the private sector to enable service providers to reliably check the age of almost any online user, including those who wish to remain anonymous”.
Any rules brought into place, you’d assume, would only apply to British companies, and getting businesses from overseas to agree to any measures is going to be nigh-on impossible, so all this seems like a lot of talk and expense for something that will never come to fruition. No change there then.
Well, if you’re a user of Adult FriendFinder, you should know about a hack that has taken place, with millions of accounts potentially breached.
Adult FriendFinder has over 63million users, and had been hit by ne’er-do-wells who have made off with a load of personal information. With that, comes people’s sexual preferences and whether or not you intend to cheat on your partner.
Email addresses, dates of birth and post codes were also taken, even if you deleted your account. This all smells like potential blackmail material, so get your excuses ready now.
For newer couples, just pretend you had the account before you met your current beau. If you’ve been with your partner for 30-odd years, then you might not need to worry too much as they might be on there as well, through being thoroughly disillusioned with your relationship. Hey! It might be just the thing to put some pep into your relationship, eh?
FriendFinder Networks Inc said: “We have already begun working closely with law enforcement and have launched a comprehensive investigation with the help of leading third-party forensics expert. We pledge to take the appropriate steps needed to protect our customers if they are affected.”
Having secure gadgets is a good thing as it offers you some solace that, should it get nicked, it might be useless to the crim who swiped it. However, the Apple Watch might not be as secure as you’d hope.
The 1.0 version of the smartwatch doesn’t really have anything to protect itself against thieves. Basically, if yours gets stolen, it is pretty easy to reset it and waltz away with it like it is brand new.
iPhone are much less easy when it comes to resetting, but with the Apple Watch, you can easily reset the device and pair it with a new phone, and you’re away.
Look! Here’s a video and everything!
Apple site iDownloadBlog pointed out the lack of an Activation Lock-like feature on Watch OS 1.0. “It’s not a security problem from a user data standpoint, but it is a security issue from a device theft standpoint,” it said.
“At the very least, it would seem that Apple could make it so that the device checks against the Apple ID of the last paired device, and requires the proper credentials before un-pairing with that device.”
Farid Fadaie, senior director of product development at BitTorrent, announced this news through the official BitTorrent blog. Farid confirmed that the app is now available to download on Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac from bleep.pm.
This is just the latest messenger app that is focused on privacy and security. Users of Bleep will be able to get a personalised Bleep key with the encryption keys for images stored on your device, rather than in a cloud.
That means there’s no server for hackers to get stuck into.
You’ll also be able to send ‘whisper messages’ with Bleep, which basically allows you to choose whether or not you want to keep parts of the conversation or not. With the whisper setting, all messages and pictures will disappear from devices after they’ve been viewed. Not unlike Snapchat in approach, but without – you’d hope – the privacy issues.
There’ll also be free voice calls, which are connected directly without the need for a cloud. Fancy a bit of this? Or will you wait a bit to see if it is another flash-in-the-pan app that you’ll have to move away from eventually?
You may have been having a fun time with Microsoft’s new viral sensation – How-Old.net – but as ever, there may well be a catch.
While you’re uploading your face to find out how old you look, Microsoft might have been been storing your photos. Now, the front page of the service says: ”We don’t keep the photo [uploaded to the site],” but the terms of service suggest otherwise.
After the sentence that says that “Microsoft does not claim ownership of any materials you provide,” a different passage in the site’s terms of service adds:
“However, by posting, uploading, inputting, providing, or submitting your Submission, you are granting Microsoft, its affiliated companies, and necessary sublicensees permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses (including, without limitation, all Microsoft services), including, without limitation, the license rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate, and reformat your Submission.”
It is all contradicting each other now. And there’s more. In there, it also says that it includes the right for Microsoft to “publish your name in connection with your Submission; and to sublicense such rights to any supplier of the Website Services.”
Microsoft have said, in relation to all this, that they do not store or share the pictures: “The terms of service are accurate. Developers get to choose how their apps work. The developers of How-old.net chose not to store or share photos for this app. These terms of services are like those of other companies.”
In summary – the application doesn’t store your photos, but Microsoft might handle them another way if they want to. If that’s the kind of thing that bothers you, you’ve been warned.
He’s said that Facebook’s free internet project, Internet.org, want to muscle in on Europe. He said: ”Yes, we want to bring Internet.org [everywhere] where there are people who need to be connected. We’re starting off by prioritizing the countries with the most unconnected people and by working with network operators and governments who are most excited about working with Internet.org to get everyone online in their countries.”
The service has already launched in India, Kenya, Zambia, Colombia and Tanzania and, in the Q&A, one person said that the service wasn’t very good, to which Zuck replied: “Having some connectivity and some ability to share is always much better than having no ability to connect and share at all”.
As long as Zuckerberg can get his hands on all that lovely personal data, which makes him so dazzlingly wealthy, the quality of the service is a mere by-product.
He also spoke about Oculus VR: “Our mission [is] to give people the power to experience anything. Even if you don’t have the ability to travel somewhere, or to be with someone in person, or even if something is physically impossible to build in our analog world, the goal is to help build a medium that will give you the ability to do all of these things you might not otherwise be able to do.”
People who like watching dirty films on the internet, take note.
These small extensions can be helpful additions to Chrome and Firefox when it comes to browsing, but some of them were problematic when you get under the hood of them. Google teamed-up with the University of California to analyse and nix a number of these apps.
They found that 5% of everyone visiting a Google page have at least one malicious extension, and most of those have a number of add-ons which are malicious.
One of the problems, according to researcher Alexandros Kapravelos, is that the dodgy extensions use the same techniques to collect your data as the legit ones.
“Even when we have a complete understanding of what the extension is doing, sometimes it is not clear if that behaviour is malicious or not,” he said. “You would expect that an extension that injects or replaces advertisements is malicious, but then you have AdBlock that creates an ad-free browsing experience and is technically very similar.”
In a Facebook post, UK culture secretary Sajid Javid said that, if the Conservatives are elected, they will “legislate to put online hardcore pornography behind effective age verification controls”.
Of course, they’ve got kids in mind when they talk about online porn*.
So how would it work? Well, they might use a third-party to verify all the ages or maybe even create a new form of digital ID. Both will invariably be unpopular and the whole thing is likely to be useless too, as these systems would need the dirty sites themselves to sign-up to such a thing. UK ISPs will be asked to block access to websites that don’t comply with the governments weird fascination with smutty films.
It seems the Tories really want to creep up to you and start all that “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” business, by asking you if you want to watch porn in the privacy of your own home.
(*We mean shielding their little eyes from it, we’ve not idea what you inferred from that sentence)
Pardon? Well, a group called Safari Users Against Google’s Secret Tracking (which has the frankly rubbish aconym of SUAGST) want to sue the internet behemoth in the English courts over what they claim are Google bypassing security settings to track them online.
Three appeal judges have dismissed Google’s appeal against a High Court ruling and ruled that claims for damages can be brought over the allegations of Google’s misuse of private information.
The Safari Users say that Google’s “clandestine” tracking and collation of internet usage (between the summer of 2011 and early 2012) led to distress and embarrassment among UK users. You might not remember that, because as a BW reader, you’re in a constant state of embarrassment and distress, so all the years roll into one.
Anyway, the group say that Google collected private info through cookies, without their information.
Dan Tench, a partner at law firm Olswang, who are representing the group, said this case decides “whether British consumers actually have any right to hold Google to account in this country”. Tench added: ”This is the appropriate forum for this case – here in England where the consumers used the internet and where they have a right to privacy.”
Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, and Lady Justice Sharp said in their joint judgement, with which Lord Justice McFarlane agreed: “On the face of it, these claims raise serious issues which merit a trial. They concern what is alleged to have been the secret and blanket tracking and collation of information, often of an extremely private nature… about and associated with with the claimants’ internet use, and the subsequent use of that information for about nine months.”
“The case relates to the anxiety and distress this intrusion upon autonomy has caused.”
Everyone is looking at Lizard Squad, who hacked Xbox as well as Lenovo. They’ve got previous with Twitch as well, when they carried out a DDoS attack, which was only resolved when (get this) four Twitter users gave in to the Squad’s demands to post selfies with “Lizard Squad” daubed on their foreheads.
However, this latest hack doesn’t look like the handiwork of Lizard Squad because, mainly, they crow about their actions very readily and they’re not really about stealing personal information, which is what’s happened here.
It appears that login details, passwords and some credit card information has been stolen in this particular hack. Twitch themselves have confirmed the hack, saying that all users will be forced to reset their passwords. They said: “For your protection, we have expired passwords and stream keys and have disconnected accounts from Twitter and YouTube. As a result, you will be prompted to create a new password the next time you attempt to log into your Twitch account.”
There’s no word on just how many people have been affected by this, but seeing as Twitch has over 45 million monthly viewers and in advance of 1 million people streaming videos, it is likely that this’ll be a large number of people who have had their security breached.
Twitch say that they’ve warned users and told them that the information that may have been swiped includes usernames, email addresses, the IP addresses from where people last logged in, credit card types, truncated card numbers and expiration dates, first and last names, phone numbers, home addresses, and dates of birth.
If you’re a Twitch user, it’d be worth changing the password for any sites you use that has a similar password to the one you use with this lot.
A lot of people don’t like the power Google have online, and this won’t help the internet giant any further.
If you have an Android phone and a Google account, then you might have been tracked without you knowing. Now, this’ll be old news to some, but it seems like there’s a good number of people out there who still have no idea.
Not to worry though – you can stop being tracked really easily
First off, watch this short video which tells you about how you’re being tracked and how you can see where you’ve been – provided you had your phone in your pocket – via a section on Google Maps.
As you can see, you can go back in time and see where you’ve been on a Google Map, which may well give you the willies, but it is easy enough to fix.
First off, you should switch your location services off on your mobile. You’ll find that in your settings. Some apps ask you to turn your location on, but you don’t have to. Twitter doesn’t need to know where you are and if you’re using something like Tinder which requires your location to show you who wants to hump nearby, then only switch your location on when it is needed.
As the video shows, it is really easy to delete your location history, and you can find out more on that, here.